The New York Times reports that three long-serving New York Democratic House members are facing primary challenges from left-wing Democrats. The challengers hope to replicate the success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated party stalwart Joseph Crowley in a primary during the last cycle.
The three targeted Dems are Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, and Carolyn Maloney. Each has been in Congress for roughly 30 years. Nadler heads the Judiciary Committee; Engel, the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Do the these three veterans face serious challenges? The Times seems to think so. It reports:
One of Mr. Nadler’s three challengers raised more than $250,000 last quarter. One of Mr. Engel’s was endorsed by Justice Democrats, the progressive group that recruited Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.
But Ocasio-Cortez won through ambush. Her opponent, Joe Crowley, didn’t take her seriously (and one can understand why). It’s unlikely that Nadler, Engel, and Maloney will make a similar mistake after seeing what happened to Crowley. But one never knows for sure.
The only New York congressional Dem who seems to be in serious trouble is Rep. Yvette Clarke. Her challenger is Adem Bunkeddeko, who nearly defeated her in 2018.
But Bunkeddeko (what a great name for a politician) isn’t challenging Clarke from the left. According to the Times, he acknowledges that there is little daylight on policy between the two candidates. Indeed, Clarke has one of the most liberal voting records in Congress.
Even if Nadler, Engel, and Maloney all survive their challenges from the left, the challenges will not be without effect. As the Times puts it, “spooked incumbents have been shoring up their progressive credentials.”
Earlier this week, for example, Nadler broke with Speaker Pelosi and voted against tabling a resolution to impeach President Trump. Nadler must believe he can ill-afford to be perceived as soft on impeachment.
From the left’s point of view, a failed primary challenge to Nadler is more than worthwhile if it “spooks” the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee into supporting the impeachment of Trump.